Returning to Work
If the doctor says an employee can return to work for part-time or modified work and the employer can accommodate the restrictions, state law requires the employee to accept the employment. If he or she refuses to accept light-duty work, the employee risks the loss of some or all of his or her workers' compensation benefits.
If the employee is released to part-time or modified work and is earning less than what he or she was earning at the time of the injury, the employee may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. Temporary partial disability benefits are calculated as half the difference between the average amount the employee was earning before the injury and the average amount the employee is earning or is able to earn in some suitable employment after the injury.
The total compensation for earnings and workers' compensation benefits may not be less than the amount received for temporary total disability, unless the employee refuses suitable employment.
If the employer is unable to accommodate an employee's light-duty restrictions and does not offer work to the employee, he or she will still receive temporary partial disability benefits, but at a rate equal to the amount received for temporary total disability.
The information provided on this Web page should in no way be considered legal advice. For specific information about your legal rights, you should consult your personal attorney. If you have a general question, contact us.
South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation
Division of Labor and Management
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501